Introducing “Robert F. Smith” The Black Billionaire Super Investor

Robert Smith
Robert F. Smith The Billionaire Investor
Robert Smith

Robert F. Smith The Billionaire Investor

Introducing “Robert F. Smith” The Black Billionaire Super Investor

Robert F. Smith ’94, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, speaks with Darius Gant ’17 at the Columbia Black Business Students Association’s ELEVATE conference on March 25, 2017. In this powerful interview he said he considers himself a “Quiet Calculated Engineer” and its about being the best at your craft.

Robert Frederick Smith Born December 1, 1962 (Sagittarius) is an African American businessman, investor and philanthropist. A former chemical engineer and investment banker, he is the founder, chairman and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Smith was ranked by Forbes in 2016 as the 274th richest person in America, the second wealthiest African American on the list after Oprah Winfrey. He was #688 on Forbes 2016 list of the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of US$3 billion.

Robert F. Smith was born a fourth generation Coloradoan to two school teacher parents with PhDs. He grew up in a predominantly African American, middle class neighborhood in Denver, and attended a newly-integrated school.

When he was an infant, his mother carried him at the March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

In high school, he applied for an internship at Bell Labs but was told the program was intended for college students. Smith persisted, calling every day. When a student from M.I.T. did not show up, he got the position, and that summer he developed a reliability test for semiconductors. Smith earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. At Cornell he became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Vista Equity Partners

In 2000, Smith founded Vista Equity Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm of which he is the principal founder, chairman and chief executive. Vista has over $26 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Vista has exclusively focused on the enterprise software, data and technology sectors. Among Vista’s portfolio companies are Misys, TIBCO, Solera, Active Network, Bullhorn, Omnitracs, Kibo, and Newscyle.

In January 2015, Vista Equity Partners was named the best performing private equity firm for the previous ten years, by the HEC-Dow Jones annual ranking conducted by professor Oliver Gottschalg. Preqin, a consulting firm that tracks the industry, reports that Vista’s third fund returned $2.46 for every dollar invested, better than every other big fund raised between 2006 and 2010, the boom years for private equity.

In October 2014, Vista closed its Fund V at $5.8 billion, its largest fund to date.

Original Bio Source: Robert F. Smith

Official Website: Vista Equity Partners

Bonus Video Interview

Keith J. Leigh

Keith J. Leigh is a spiritual advisor, philosopher, business owner, family man, author, and primal leader who contributes to greatness by sharing years of powerful experience and advance knowledge with the world. He's been in the E-Commerce, Entertainment, Technology, Real Estate and Mortgage Industries for over 15 years who specializes in business and family dynasty building. This author would like to remain mostly mysterious as power last longer behind the scenes. Magnate Lifestyle isn't your average website. Magnate: A person of rank, power, influence, or distinction often in a specified area. A “Business Magnate” (formally industrialist) refers to an entrepreneur of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise or field of business.

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